Keith Spicer walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2014.
The shortest possible route is around 874 miles but that encompasses a lot of motorways and busy A roads. For walking, a more realistic route is around 1,000 miles. Mine ended up at 1,026 miles.
How long will that take?
73 days, which included 10 rest days.
I started on 16 February 2014 and finished on 29 April, in time to get back for the cricket season.
Why not do it in the summer?
It would be much warmer – I don’t mind the cold – I’d miss cricket and accommodation would be much more expensive. But it is hard to put in continual 20 mile walks in the heat of the summer.
Why did you go uphill from Land’s End?
A February start in John O’Groats doesn’t sound too attractive! Also going “uphill” means you have the prevailing wind at your back and the setting sun is on your back and not in your eyes.
Why did you do this?
It is a challenge and an experience. Work can be a slog and this was something very different – a short career break, if you like.
How much walking have you done?
I didn’t walk until I was 21 months so I’m now making up for it. I did a lot of running in my 20s but have gradually become less fit as I’ve got older. I’ve never done anything like this before but I trained for about 2 years – normally a couple of walks a week of around 12-20 miles each.
And the charity?
My niece lost a baby late on in pregnancy – it hadn’t kicked for three weeks and had died in the womb. She received a lot of support from SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths), a charity that also funds research. It’s a very personal charity for me and it only runs on voluntary donations.
How much do you aim to raise?
My initial aim was to raise £5,000 but had to raise the target to £10,000 when fundraising and sponsorship went so well. Ultimately I raised over 11 thousand pounds. I was very much out of pocket myself but the experience more than made up for that.
How do we know you really did it?
I had a form to get signed or stamped at either a post office or at the accommodation on about a dozen occasions. That is the norm for these things.
Did you go in a group?
No, it was a sole venture. However, a number of people did join me for a day at various points and walking with me. My wife Pammy did walk five days with me and that was lovely. I didn’t mind the solitude but 10 weeks of it was hard.
What did you carry?
I tried to make my bag as light as possible but clearly I needed a minimum number of clothes, footwear and waterproofs. Also, a first aid kit, maps, phone, a tablet for writing a blog, and emergency foodstuffs and water each day.